Ultraviolet Flashlight Helps Researchers Find New Species of Scorpion in Death Valley

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(Newswire.net — September 29, 2016) Fort Worth, Texas — Researchers recently announced the discovery of a tiny scorpion in Death Valley National Park, an unexpected find considering that the previously closest known habitat of this species of scorpion lies hundreds of miles to the south.

This particular species of scorpion is very small at only 0.6 inches long, about the same length as an average thumbnail.  It belongs to a small sub-group of scorpion species called the Wernerius genus, which contains only two other types of scorpion species.

The sun produces infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light rays and each has its own unique wavelengths.  Ultraviolet light produces minimal visible light rays and is characterized by a deep purple or blue light ray that is most visible in dark settings or when other light sources are blocked out.  Ultraviolet flashlights have been found to be very useful by both the military and law enforcement in identifying counterfeit materials, detecting blood evidence, finding hidden explosives, and many other uses as well.

Now among the many valuable uses of ultraviolet flashlights can be added arachnology, which is the  scientific study of spiders and related animals such as scorpions, pseudo scorpions, and harvestmen, collectively called arachnids.

It was researches working at night and equipped with ultraviolet flashlights, who first spotted the single male scorpion specimen near a rock formation.  Adult scorpions give off an eerie green glow when they are under the rays of an ultraviolet flashlight.

“When you come across a scorpion, they glow a bright green color, which is really easy to see in contrast to the surrounding darkness,” said Michael M. Webber, one of the researchers who discovered the newfound species in Death Valley.

Since the discovery of the lone male, additional efforts to find more specimens have proved to be fruitless.  This has led the researchers to conclude that the scarcity of the scorpion species is most likely due to the fact that they live underground.

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